PhD Student in Environmental Science

The Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES) is one of the biggest departments at the Faculty of Science. The department is divided into five units with more than 200 researchers, teachers, doctoral students and technical/administrative staff. Research and teaching focuses on Contaminant Chemistry, Exposure & Effects, Atmospheric Science, Biogeochemistry and Analytical Chemistry. As an employee at ACES you will be part of a dynamic environment with research in leading research areas and with a strong international profile.

Research on the Exposure & Effects Unit focus on to improve the understanding of exposure to chemicals of emerging concern and their effects on living organisms. This includes to identify and quantify chemicals in the environment, measure their uptake and disposition in organisms, and ultimately examine their effects, from the molecular level up to the functioning of entire ecosystems. Our studies integrate experimental and modelling approaches, field monitoring, and builds bridges between environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, stress ecology, molecular biology and ecophysiology. One important aspect is to facilitate that exposure and effect data are used for agency decision-making and we develop novel approaches to facilitate the use of scientific data in regulatory risk assessment and risk management.

Project description
There is a critical need to understand and evaluate the risks of exposure to chemical mixtures, from an environmental, human health as well as regulatory perspective. Endocrine disruptors are of particular concern as low doses can cause severe effects, especially during critical stages of development. As a first step of any risk assessment, we need to have an exhaustive picture of the internal exposure. For that, we will invest in a thorough exposure assessment, combining existing literature data and complementary novel chemical analysis utilizing state-of-the-art instrumentation, gaining an exposure profile beyond what is available today.

The PhD position will be part of the Swedish Research Council Formas-funded project Risk modelling of mixtures of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) relevant to human exposure, using zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo as model organism. The candidate will have the opportunity to have a double degree, shared between ACES, Stockholm University and the department of Environment & Health, VU University, Amsterdam.

The PhD project is divided into two phases:

Phase 1 – internal exposure profile will be mapped in close collaboration with Umeå University. The PhD candidate will use complementary chemical analysis on large volume serum samples, carefully selected to represent different populations. Focus will be on the utilization of GC-MS analysis. Applying derivatization techniques will promote to specifically target phenolic compound (PhCs) at trace concentrations. PhCs are typical EDCs by e.g. binding to receptors and transport proteins and can induce immunotoxicity. Complex chemical mixtures based on realistic exhaustive chemical exposure profiles will be created for effect assessments.

Phase 2 – the PhD candidate will analyse the metabolomic profile in Zebrafish exposed to the realistic chemical mixtures created in phase 1. Metabolomics studies the small molecules, also known as metabolites, which occur in organisms in response to health status. The department of Environment & Health (VU University, Amsterdam) use state-of-the-art platforms (LC-QToF, LC-MS/MS, GC-ToFMS) to study environmental and human metabolomics in relationship to chemical exposure. The PhD candidate will spend appropriate time at the department to chemically determine the metabolome of the exposures.

The PhD position is highly focused on organic analytical chemistry, but as the nature of the project is transdisciplinary, the candidate will gain knowledge within risk assessments in general, including hazard identification, risk characterisation, and risk modelling. A close connection with stakeholders, and regular conference participation will give the candidate a network outside the scientific network.

Qualification requirements
To meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, for doctoral studies in Environmental Science, at least 45 of the credits at the second cycle must be in one of the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics, or Meteorology) including a 30 hp/HEC thesis project. The applicant should also have 30 hp/HEC in other natural science subjects different from the major.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their ability to successfully pursue the research education. Special emphasis is put on the applicant’s knowledge and skills within the subject area, ability to express her/himself verbally and in writing, analytical aptitude, creativity, initiative and independence, and a capacity for working together with others. The evaluation will be made based on the relevance of past education and experience, grades from previous university courses (in particular at the advanced level), the quality and ambition of the independent project work, references, a cover letter motivating the candidate’s interest, and interviews.

Knowledge in analytical chemistry is meriting. Since the project is interdisciplinary and covers biology, biochemistry and toxicology competence in these areas is desirable, to be able to contribute to the scientific discussion. The candidate should be willing to spend time periods (1-3 months according agreement) in The Netherlands for the collaborative part in phase 2 of the project, and be willing to perform the necessary tasks required for the double degree.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at: and regulations.

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact Jana Weiss, telephone: +46 8 16 22 12,

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 40 17, (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter motivating your interest for this position
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience, and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Optional letters of recommendation (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 6 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

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